Cobb House // 1841

The highest-style Greek Revival house in Marion is this home, built in 1841 as a parsonage for Marion’s Congregational Church. The first pastor to reside here was Rev. Leander Cobb. He assisted his father, Rev. Oliver Cobb, who had been preaching in Marion since the completion of the first meeting house in 1799. Leander’s daughter, Sarah Elizabeth, married Captain Benjamin Briggs, who’s father ran the local post office (see last post). In 1872, Captain Briggs set sail aboard his ship, Mary Celeste, with his wife and two year old daughter Sophia, and seven crewmates. Their school-aged son was left at home with his grandmother. They sailed from Massachusetts on November 7, 1872, bound for Europe with a cargo of commercial alcohol. Less than a month later, on December 4, the ship was found sailing erratically off the coast of Gibraltar. A local crew boarded the ship to investigate when they saw no one on deck. The sails were furled and the ship was in excellent condition. In the infant’s crib remained the impression of a sleeping child. However, no sign of the crew or the Briggs family was ever found. There are many theories about what happened, with the most likely being that some alcohol barrels got loose and flammable liquor poured out near the kitchen. It is possible the family and crew became frightened and boarded the safety boat incase of an explosion. The boat was not tethered and they likely could not reach the main ship as her sails were up. They were probably capsized by a wave and drowned to death in the open ocean.

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